John Clarke, ‘Days of Our Lives’ Star and Lifetime Achievement Emmy Winner, Dies at 88

Clarke was also father to “The OC” actress Melinda Clarke

Last Updated: October 21, 2019 @ 10:40 PM

John Clarke, a longtime star of the NBC soap “Days of Our Lives” who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement daytime Emmy in 2005, died Oct. 16 from complications stemming from pneumonia, his family announced in a statement Monday night. He was 88, and had been in declining health for the last several years.

Born in South Bend, Indiana in 1931 and raised across the country due to his father’s career as an Army officer, Clarke attended UCLA, receiving a BA in theater, where among his accolades he received the Sigma Rho award. He studied with Dorothy Foulger at UCLA, Michael Ferrall of the University of Washington, and Stephen Book in Hollywood.

Clarke also served as an Air Force sergeant during the Korean war, performing as part of a troupe that entertained soldiers throughout the United States.

Clarke’s acting career included more than 75 performances at Chicago’s Tenthouse Theater, and a season-long leading man residency at the Palm Springs Playhouse. He also appeared in the feature films “Judgement at Nuremburg,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Satan Bug,” “Man Missing,” and “Burma Patrol.”

But Clarke was best known for his work on television, particularly his 39-year run playing Mickey Horton on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” beginning in 1965. He was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series in 1979.

Clarke’s other television roles include roles on “Gun Smoke,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “The FBI,” “Sugarfoot,” “Death Valley Days,” “Twilight Zone,” “Maverick,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “The Law and Mrs. Jones,” “Petticoat Junction,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Lawman,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” and the final season of “Hart to Hart.”

Clarke was also active in church and in his community, serving as the first board president of the Capistrano Valley Symphony, Chief Referee for AYSO Regional Soccer and as a youth soccer coach for over ten years. He was also involved in the Latino Ministry, playing the guitar and leading singing during Spanish language services for 17 years.

He is survived by Patty, his son Joshua and his daughter, actress Melinda Clarke, and three grandchildren. His daughter Heidi died from a heart tumor in 1994.

“Above all, family life was always most important to John and his wife Patty,” his family said in a statement Monday. “John’s greater-than-life personality will leave a lasting impression on all his family and friends who love him.”

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